RESIDENTS and councillors have spoken of their anger at plans to build a £30million college in Basildon town centre, which would see the market moved for good.

Plans and artists impressions for the new South Essex College went on display for the first time in the Eastgate Shopping Centre yesterday.

If the Basildon campus, currently in Nethermayne, is moved, it would be built on the site of Basildon market with the market moving to St Martin’s Square, near the Basildon Centre.

The plans would also see homes built on the college site and Dry Street to help fund the move.

Pat and Alan Watkins’ home, in Fletchers, Basildon, backs on to the current college site, and would be surrounded by homes if the plans went ahead.

Mrs Watkins, 67, said: “We are not happy at the prospect of more houses being built on the field behind our home. The road system in Nethermayne cannot cope as it is and we have been campaigning for years on these issues.

“Once the college moves, it will open the floodgates for hundreds of homes to be built on the site. We are totally against these plans.”

Traders also fear being put out of business if the college moves on to the market site, due to a lack of storage facilities.

Reiki healing practitioner Dave Cross, who runs a stall in the market, said: “Ninety per cent of traders would be unable to carry on without storage, and smaller stalls would change the nature of the market.”

Phil Rackley, who is a Labour ward councillor for St Martin’s ward, which covers the affected area, added: “I don’t think a strong enough case has been made for a college in the town centre.

“I don’t think the students at the Nethermayne campus are so lazy they won’t walk down to the town if they wanted to get something to eat or go shopping.

“Lots of market traders have also been in touch since the masterplan went public and have said they don’t like the idea of it moving.”

An outline planning application is expected to be submitted to Basildon Council in the autumn.